“Exploring Approaches to Achieve Meaningful Learning in an Online Course”
The seminar will focus on ongoing experiences and assessments gained during the development of an upper division elective course, PS121 “Disease Mechanisms and Therapies”, that is focused on creating meaningful learning experiences for undergraduate STEM majors using L. Dee Fink’s Taxonomy of Significant Learning. PS121 is a fully online course with synchronous and asynchronous activities that brings together biological science undergraduates from across each of the nine University of California campuses. Online learning communities are formed through small discussion sections and community projects that promote team-based work. Our preliminary data support that PS121 is a meaningful, transformative experience for students in which they are driven to learn deeply by focusing on a single complex problem to develop critical thinking skills, while being stimulated to think beyond themselves. In PS121, undergraduates learn to integrate concepts from many disciplines to address real world challenges and to engage with the community. PS121 is a highly structured course that employs scientific teaching practices to benefit all students. PS121 fulfills the Diversity Requirement at UCLA for its consideration of disability and socioeconomic factors that can affect access to healthcare.